We had to go to Tegucigalpa again to re-register for an electrical project. Honduras has recently had a company from Columbia to take over the payment part of their electric company that has always been called, ENEE. ENEE still have the original guys, who have yellow helmets, ladders and work trucks, but this new branch EEH (Electric Energy of Honduras) is like a bank. They receive all payments, for projects or monthly electric bills. We were trying to get the House of Nain (our new boy's home) electricity. We initially were with an electrical project from ENEE last year with our neighbors in the area, before the new electric company came to town. That project was being funded by a private non- profit organization. The transformer was supposed to be placed on our farm, but while I was in the United States, the powers that be, place the two transformers on opposite ends of our farm, in which the two transformers were so far from each other it left us with no current. Meantime, the new electric company came into power, and so we had to start another electrical project of our own to get electricity to our new boy's center. This entailed buying a transformer and a large electrical pole, hiring an electrical engineer, and other costly purchases such as wire, and a trip to Tegucigalpa. We also had to go to the Toyota dealership in Tegucigalpa to discuss a defective clutch on our van. We were going to try to get it all done in one trip. :)
WE had gone to Tegucigalpa the capital, the week before and carried some friends, who also had errands to run in Tegucigalpa. I had to carry the Toyota mini van for its every 3000 kilometer check up. These check-ups were getting costly, having to go back and forth to Tegucigalpa, but I wanted to make sure that the warranty was honored if anything happened to the new van. We needed to get our new project going. Our destination into google maps and it took us to a place that was closed. Right name, but nobody home. It was all closed up, like a governmental building at 4:00 on Friday afternoon. (some things are universal). We then asked where to get to the new electric company. It was across town. We got there and they said we needed to go and get a project number from ENEE, the electrical company here. We told them it was locked up. They said, "No it isn't", and we said "Yes, it was", and it went on from there. So we asked our taxi driver to carry us where they would pay for an electrical project. He carried us to the new EEH, Electrical Energia Honduras. They are basically the bank for the Electric Company, which we had found out about that morning. Across town we went again, and it was not the right place either. We waited an hour for our taxi driver, it was the noon hour and I was watching our fellow team members blood sugar start to get a little on the low side. :) Omar came on the opposite side of the 6 lane busy highway and waved us over. I thought to myself that the Omar, the taxi driver, has lost his mind since I saw him last. He wanted us to cross over an insanely busy highway. Dangerous, but we did it. We were too tired and hungry to care. Meantime, our friends were eating at the Chinese restaurant. Omar carried us to yet another agency. I like to chat with the taxi drivers to find out how long they have been driving a cab. Then I ask about their family and then if they are Christians. Sometimes, politics come up. After the general questions, I try to deduce my life expectancy riding with them. There are more taxi drivers than other regular car owners.
WE arrived at our new location. We walked up four flights of stairs to tell them that we needed a project number. I was huffing and puffing by the time I got to the office where we needed to be. They said we should go to ENEE, and we told them that was our first stop. They assured us that they were not closed, but that the office is not where the office doors are, but they are down two doors behind an ugly black painted garage door over to the right. This nice young guy drove us over in his car across town. This young engineer arrived at the black hand painted, poorly welded gate and stood his ground and showed his official ENEE badge to a guard and he argued his way into the inter sanctum of the Electrical Company. WE were so thankful that God had sent him to us.
He guided us through three different offices, and the last office was finally our destination. WE had to wait an hour because the boss just stepped out for lunch. (It was lunch time after all) WE were determined to see it through, even though some team members were starving. WE had wifi and so my fellow team members and I just sat there and caught up on our mail and Facebook. WE were ushered to yet another office where we got our project number. WE gave them our copies that were required, but we didn't know that WE needed the "required 2 copies", one for ENEE and one for the other new arm of the Electrical company EEH. WE also needed to give them a check for over $1500 US dollars. So we ask them if we could come back and give them the check next week, and they said when the EEH received the receipt that we have paid the ENEE, they would initiate a work order to turn on the electricity at the House of Nain. Earlier in the week, I had put money in the bank for this project. The new amount was more than I was told initially. I left his desk and went out the door. We were closer, but I felt like if I had just put a check in the bank the previous day, and if I had just made two copies, we could have our electricity. I felt defeated and inept. We went and gathered our weary group of travelers, ate chinese, picked up our Toyota vehicle, paid for the revision of said minivan and went home to the hills.
Two days later, we were carrying 14 people in our less than a year old minivan and the clutch just went out. WE had two vehicles to drop the team at a bus stop and then we were to go and pick up another team at the airport. The team of college students, who had worked so hard that week, were headed to the beach for a day. When I realized the clutch was not working properly, I stopped immediately, but had to find a telephone signal to call the dealership. I had to walk back up the mountain along the busy highway to find a phone signal. Since we had just left the dealership two days before with a clean bill of health on the minivan prior to this mishap, I wanted to know what to do exactly to not have a problem with my guarantee. The team got out of the minivan and I told them I would call the bus line and be waiting to catch a public bus into Siguatepeque. The team members were being so helpful scurrying up and down the mountain from the broken down vehicle, carrying paperwork from the van and delivering messages from the other part of our team who were further up the road.
I figured the team could catch a bus along the side of the road to take them to their next destination. They had some Spanish speakers with them they would be fine. The mechanic I called told me to call another number, which was the insurance agent. She told me to get a tow truck. She told me that I would have to pay $150 and they would pay the rest. I thought that is reasonable, to go all the way to capital from La Esperanza. The phone kept going out and the insurance agent only had a one way phone. She could call me back, but I couldn't get her, because my number I was calling was a central switch board. I called the mechanic back, and he said everything would be covered if there was no "mal uso" (which means the driver messed up the clutch). They asked me if anyone else had driven the vehicle. I told them "Yes", but just a few times. The van only has 10,000 miles on it. I told them that Wesley had a heavy equipment license and I was sure that he knew how to drive a vehicle with a clutch. They said, "Of course" they said, "So then it couldn't be him that messed up the clutch", which indicated me. Did I mention that a cold front was blowing on the side of the mountain and the young team members were freezing and we kept losing the phone signal and then it started misting rain. I got the team on the bus to the next town, and waited on my mechanic that I have had for the last 4 years. He told me to drive in 2nd gear until we got to the repair shop. He drove behind me with his motorcycle with emergency lights flashing. He called the mechanic from the Toyota dealership when we arrived at his shop. The person on the other end told him to fix the clutch and to send me with the burned up clutch in a box and they would review it. Manuelito fixed the clutch, and I got it back the following Monday.
|Call upon the Name of the Lord|
The next week we arrived at the Toyota dealership at the capital, another 4 hour drive, on Tuesday. I had my paperwork of how much it cost to fix the clutch. Manuel wrote a note to the company as they had requested, stating exactly what he did to the van. I had the clutch that was burned up in the back of the van and I asked to speak to the mechanic, who knew me from all my check ups on the van. He asked me, "Why did the mechanic fix the minivan"? I told him because someone from this company told him to fix it. They said well he shouldn't have fixed so much. He just needed to basically patch it to get it here. "Hmmm", I thought with three mountain ranges to cross, it was wisdom on the part of the mechanic to fix it. It is a kit and you have to change out the kit for it to work properly. However, because my mechanic was not a licensed Toyota mechanic, they couldn't guarantee his work. I thought, "Okay", but can we establish that the clutch is defective"? They said they had never had a faulty clutch on a minivan ever. Hmmm.. In the history of minivanism, they have never had a faulty clutch??I told him that after having 4 different vehicles at our mission that have had a standard shift for over the last 22 years, I have replaced a lot of things, but my mechanic has never had to replace a faulty clutch. If I had a habit of riding the clutch, I think that would have been established before now. He did see the logic in that and consented to finally take a look at the defective clutch. He took pictures of the clutch and said he would investigate.
Then it was on to ENEE to pay the check. When we arrived there was another couple before us. Not to bad, we would wait our turn. WE gave them our paperwork that we brought, but they couldn't find our file from the week before. We were there about 45 minutes, and Suzanne and I were praying that "whatever was hidden would be revealed, and whatever was lost would be found", It was a new guy because everything is a new procedure, so we had grace on them. Thankfully, a secretary came in from an early lunch and she found it. We paid our money, and went next door and got our receipt, joyfully explaining our project for girls and boys as we went along.
WE went to eat with our travel buddies, who also had to return the following week with us for their paperwork situations with Immigration. WE ate and ran back over to present our receipt and our other copies to EEH. We also ran off some more copies for good measure at the copy store. The attendant, who was so thorough, like the "all knowing OZ", kept being interrupted by her supervisor, who was not "all knowing" and constantly needed her immediate help. That combined with a lunch break, phone calls and finally her leg went to sleep from sitting in the same position for a super long time. Being a missionary, full of compassion and seeing the light at the end of the tunnel, I told her to stand up and walk around. She did as I suggested, but she walked out to the next office, but she didn't return for a while. She finally came back, highlighting the copies, and being extremely diligent. She asked me "What is the meter serial number of your closest neighbor"? Now, I really hadn't thought of that, nor was it on the list of required resources. Stunned, I told her I did not have that piece of information. Then, I remembered I had my neighbors number in my phone from last years electrical project. I called. He was in an important meeting at the mayor's office, but he would call his wife to go out to his meter base at his house and send it to him and he would call me back. The attendant looked at me, I looked at her and she called out the next red blinking number on the large digital read for the next customer. I left the desk to await my phone call. Meanwhile, a member of our team was starting to look like he had a twitch.
We got the phone call, but we had to wait for her to finish the person that she was attending. I went back to the desk, and gave her the number. She said, "Okay, you have everything in order. Now we just need the receipt for the digital electric meter to be installed." I told her that the first project had issued me a digital electric meter. She asked me, "Do you have the receipt with you?". I did not, nor had I ever seen the receipt, since it was issued to the project chairman last year. She said, I can't send a work order without the receipt for the meter. Mirian, who is brilliant, was with us, asked could we buy one right now and bring back a receipt. The beautiful attendant, who really looked like a young Wonder Woman with her big black framed glasses and black haired pony tail,(maybe that's why she kept disappearing for large amounts of time) beamed and said, "Surely, this is a possibility". Mirian asked, "What time do you close"? She said in three hours. Our fellow team member, erupted with a primordial call for the goodness of God. I couldn't look at the attendant's response, because I was afraid she would have a stamp that said "cancelado" . She then mentioned the store, which was on the other side of town by the Toyota dealership. WE got into a cab and hot footed it across town to get the new electronic digital meter. WE asked the cab driver to wait. WE were on a mission and though it was getting late and the sun was getting lower, we were going to get our permissions. Then we just started laughing.
WE got the digital meter paid for and raced back to the other side of town during rush hour traffic to the EEH office. The room was filled with the people who had been there since this morning. I had a "thought", that I now know was from the Lord when I stepped out of the cab. There was a KFC chicken restaurant right next door. I had a random thought of getting a bucket of chicken. I wasn't hungry. I had already eaten, so I reasoned it away. I should have acted on the mention of KFC. The office, that we had been visiting, have elevator doors that open to a very small room filled with chairs. There is a red meter to take a number, and a desk of 4 people, a couple of phones, and a copier machine. The room looked like an afterthought. WE stopped and got new copies of the receipt at the copy store just to be sure.
When we got off the elevator and entered the room, you could feel that there was a level of hostility towards the two of the 4 people, who were at their post behind the desk. Strong comments were being hurled. Our fellow missionary, arms crossed, bobbing his head up and down in assent, and was looking like he was bonding with his new found Honduran patriots, who felt like he felt. Wonder Woman disappeared again. I thought about if I had of brought the bucket of chicken to have a sort of picnic, it would have taken the edge off the situation. I think Jesus used to have the same thoughts with baskets of fish. Some people had been there as long as we had. Low blood sugar can make people mean. They were just as tired as we were and had to get home just like we needed to get home. Even though it was pretty tense, we began to get our joy back. We started joking around with each other and with the people and the small staff that was there. Then, after about 45 minutes, our attendant returned and took our receipt out of my hand for the meter and waved us on. I threw her kisses, hoping that receipt would find our pile of paperwork and said "thank you" and forgot to ask how long before the electricity would be connected. However, Mirian our faithful board member asked her. WE had gingerly stepped into the elevator, glad that we had accomplished both missions. Mirian then said, "I asked how long before the electricity was cut on". The rest of us looked to her, feeling like we missed our opportunity in the office, but at the same time were glad that she had the foresight to ask. The elevator doors closed as she said, "A month and a half". WE looked towards heaven, called on the name of the Lord and just laughed and got our other weary travelers from the Mall where we left them, and rode safely home singing silly songs with Mirian's 4-year old daughter all the way home in the dark.
Sometimes, life is full of little and big electric situations. Sometimes, on the mission field it is just a little trickier to figure out the solution. Sometimes, you can get pretty stressed, and your attitude can go south. However, Jesus loves to travel with us on that southbound lane and get us Home. He can get us to his desired location and He can give us joy in our journey, if we are looking full in His wonderful face.
Thanks to all of you that pray for us and bless our ministry with your encouraging words and gifts. I am thankful that I am doing life with Suzanne and Wesley, Mirian, Sharon, Jonathon and Sofi, Kelsey, Carlie, Jake and Rachael, all of our girls and a host of other missionaries. Thanks to all the teams who have come so far this year!! Thanks for all the planning and hard work. Thanks for the great blessings you brought with you and for the kitchen shopping spree. Blessings, from the Sometimes Electric Honduran MOM